We are building a new pet blog and keeping a detailed record of all the steps we take along the way as part of our pet blog case study.
At the end of each month we publish a report on what we have achieved, what went right, what went wrong, and what we have learned along the way.
We hope this will help us on our journey and help others who are just starting out with pet blogging.
Following our pet blog case study
This is our October report, and we have now completed our second month live with our new pet blog.
You can read our monthly reports from the beginning, which include the month before launch, or jump right in here.
Month 2 (October) strategy
Our main strategy for October was to create a core library of quality articles on key topics for our niche, and to promote these effectively.
We also aimed to strengthen our following on Facebook, and build a following on Pinterest
A priority was to ensure that the articles we published were all interlinked and accessible from the menus
We used a paid writer to produce some of the content for us and produced some of it ourselves.
What went wrong
One of our servers was hacked in the first week of October and the new pet blog went down for a while, along with two other established blogs.
Synthesis got the sites back up within a few hours, and offered to move us, free of charge, to a newer, better server.
All the files in the site were cleaned, malware removed, passwords changed, and software reinstalled.
What went right
We ran a successful Facebook page promotion and saw some fantastic growth in our Facebook page
Managing to generate new likes for just a couple of cents each.
Our Pinterest account grew steadily too, as did our email subscriber list
What we learned
Although we hadn’t actually done anything wrong to cause the server issues, it was a timely reminder to keep on top of security.
Updating our plug-ins regularly (these can be a security weakness on a WordPress site), using strong passwords (ours could have been better) and changing them often (we’ll be doing this monthly now).
Having to spend a lot of time on this unplanned distraction also reminded us that we do need to schedule a little slack time into each week, to deal with this kind of problem.
We tend to overbook ourselves a little and sometimes simply run out of time when there are important jobs left to be done.
Traffic and content report
Each month we are setting some targets and hoping to meet them. You can see what we achieved this month, compared with the targets we set at the end of last month
- Articles now published 19 (20) total on site
- Users 6243 (4000 ) for the month
- Pageviews 7873 (6000) for the month
We missed our articles target by one, mainly due to time lost dealing with problems early in the month. But that’s okay. The targets are there to guide and encourage us, not to control us.
We were very pleased with the number of users.
It would have been nicer to see more pageviews per user, but there isn’t a great deal of material on the site yet, so that isn’t an unreasonable figure.
Other key metrics
Our Facebook page has really taken off, and we are encouraged to see people signing up to our email list.
The numbers are still small, but that’s okay. Pinterest is starting to provide a little traffic too, which is nice.
I think it might be interesting next month to break down where the traffic on the site is coming from. To see what effect the growth of our social media efforts is having. We now have
- 32,354 Facebook fans
- 463 Pinterest followers
- 41 email subscribers
No income to report yet, as we haven’t monetized the site in any way. But here are our expenses. As you can see, we invested more than we did last month, mainly on growing our Facebook fan page to the point where it is able to provide a regular consistent source of traffic to our articles
Writer’s fees: $329.95 (£261.90)
Facebook ads: $568.29 (£451.08)
Targets for next month
We set ourselves some strong targets for November, here they are
- 30 Articles (total on site)
- 10,000 Users (for the month)
- 15,000 Pageviews (for the month)
We are fairly confident of meeting them, and having them there encourages us to keep working on the site, even on days when we might not feel like it.
We are happy with our Facebook following for now, and are getting some great engagement, so we’ll be dialling back on growing that and focusing on Pinterest a bit more.
We’ll still be paying to promote articles that get a good reach on Facebook, but to to promote the page itself.
Boost versus creating a Facebook advert
You often find articles telling you to create a Facebook advert in the ad manager, rather than to use the post boost button.
In some cases, this is good advice, in others, you will get a better result promoting your site via the boost button, provided you use a good system. Especially since Facebook seems to have removed the option to disable serving ads in the right hand column.
We’ll be writing more about how we do this in a separate post.
Essentially, to use boosts successfully, you need to make small boosts to many posts and watch them hourly, turning off those that don’t succeed. And ‘going for it’ when one takes off
You need quite a lot of content and many posts a day to make this a viable option, but it works well for us on some of our other pages
Both creating adverts and boosting require careful monitoring and increasing of budget’s in incremental steps when a promotion takes off.
Remember, most promotions fail. You are watching for the one that flies. And need to be ready to take advantage when it does.
Other strategies for promoting articles
We haven’t done much with our email list yet, apart from letting people know when we have publised something new.
Next month we aim to get a nice follow up series of emails set up for our subscribers
One final way we will be promoting the site is with Adwords. I have developed a system where I can get clicks through to a website for about 2 cents each.
This is quite time consuming to set up as it involves making a campaign for a specific page, and paying it a lot of attention for the first week or so.
But after that, it pretty much runs itself
Precautions to take when using adwords
I’ll be talking about that in another article. But remember, you can’t use adwords to promote a site where you have adsense installed.
A small AdWords campaign, however, can be a good way to help get a new site rolling. We used one of these when we first started the Happy Puppy site, it was quite effective.
You need to be very careful when using AdWords
It is very easy to spend huge amounts of money that you don’t have on an Adwords campaign.
- So set your budgets and check your campaigns regularly.
- Start small, and stay small until you have the skills and knowledge to benefit from this medium
If you are careful, you can get a steady stream of visits for a two or three cents each. And you can (and should) limit your campaign budget to a dollar or two a day – to make sure things don’t run away with you- to begin with
I hope you have found this report interesting. I’m a bit late publishing this month so there will be another report out for November in a week or two.
If you want to follow along with our pet blog case study, just drop your name into the email box below!
Happy Pet Blogging! See you next time.